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As Kevin Love bounces back, teammate disputes his fall-guy label for Cavaliers' two losses

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 26, 2016

CLEVELAND: Richard Jefferson didn’t like what he was hearing. He didn’t want Kevin Love to be the “fall guy” for the Cavaliers’ two losses in Toronto.

So after Love busted out of a 5 for 23 shooting slump Wednesday night with 25 points in 24 minutes of their 116-78 victory over the Raptors in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Jefferson criticized the media for focusing on Love instead of the team’s shortcomings.

“He doesn’t have anything to make up for. No disrespect to anybody here, but that all a bunch of media B.S., if you ask me,” Jefferson said in the hallway at Quicken Loans Arena. “The guy had a bad game. We’d won 10 straight. He can have a bad game. Was he the only one who didn’t shoot the ball well? No. Was he the only person that might have struggled a little bit defensively? It looked like Kyle Lowry had 30-something points.

“As a group it was never him, it was never one individual. That was who was going to be the fall guy in the media’s eyes. We didn’t view it that way. Yes, we wanted him to play better, we all did. But he didn’t need to prove anything to us. He’d had eight double-doubles in the first 10 games. We were a little taken aback that everyone thought it was his fault. Those losses weren’t his fault. We all didn’t do our job. We took some of those things personally, the questions that were being asked.”

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Tristan Thompson helps Cavaliers ‘throw the first punch’ in 116-78 Game 5 victory over Raptors

By Michael Beaven Published: May 26, 2016

CLEVELAND: Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson knew he and his teammates needed to bounce back Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The effort and play in Games 3 and 4 were just not up to par for the Cavaliers as the Raptors built leads and won both games in Toronto to even the best of seven series.

“The last couple of games we didn’t bring the juice, we didn’t bring the energy,” Thompson said. “They threw the first punch, so tonight T-Lue [Cavs coach Tyronn Lue] told us in the pre-game huddle: ‘Throw the first punch and come out and play really aggressive and play hard,’ and that is what we did.”

The Cavs came out fast Wednesday and secured a 116-78 win over the Raptors to take a three games to two lead in the series. The Cavs will seek a win Friday to clinch a spot in the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.

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Cavs' stars shine, pound Raptors 116-78 to move within one win of NBA Finals

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 25, 2016

CLEVELAND: The frayed nerves and trepidation that typically come with a two-game losing streak in the postseason doesn’t apply to LeBron James. He has been in this position plenty of times before.

James entered Wednesday’s pivotal Game 5 with a sense of calmness and expected his teammates to follow his lead. What they got instead was an explosion.

James had 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds, Kevin Love returned to form with 25 points and Kyrie Irving scored 23 in the Cavs’ 116-78 dismantling of the Toronto Raptors to take an emphatic 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. It was the Cavaliers’ most lopsided playoff win in franchise history – surpassing their 31-point win at home in Game 1 of this series.

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Raptors 105, Cavs 99; Jason Lloyd's 26 thoughts on Kevin Love, defense and a series that resets 2-2

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 24, 2016

TORONTO: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 points from Kyrie Irving in Monday’s 105-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors, evening the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2…

1.      All of the problems that plagued the Cavs throughout the regular season have returned at an inopportune time. That 10-game winning streak to start the postseason is gone, replaced by a team that can’t defend, can’t consistently make open 3-pointers and can’t get much production out of Kevin Love.

2.      There is still time to fix this. The Cavs are going home with the series tied and still hold home-court advantage. But the pitiful defensive effort displayed in the first half, coupled with the inability to make open shots has made this series far more interesting than it appeared to be when the Raptors were blown out by a combined 50 points in the first two games.

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Cavaliers say defensive aggressiveness lacking after Lowry, DeRozan combine for 67

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 24, 2016

TORONTO: Channing Frye could not have been more blunt about the state of the Cavaliers’ defense.

Asked what was happening with it in Monday night’s 105-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at Air Canada Centre, Frye said, “Obviously nothing.

“They shot 54 percent. We’ve just got to look at the film and do better. That’s some bulls---.”

But a series-high 54 percent from the field after the Raptors hit 40, 46 and 46 in the first three games wasn’t the only alarming number.

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LeBron James scores 29, but Cavs fall to Raptors 105-99 to even series at 2-2

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 23, 2016

TORONTO: The Cavaliers watched the film from Game 3 and entered Game 4 confident there wasn’t much to fix. They might want to take another look.

That easy path to the NBA Finals just became much, much more difficult.

LeBron James scored 29 points and Kyrie Irving scored 26, but shoddy defense, poor 3-point shooting and an early hole led to the Toronto Raptors’ 105-99 victory Monday night at Air Canada Centre, evening this series at 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday in Cleveland.

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Dahntay Jones insists his groin punch to Biyombo was not intentional

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 23, 2016

TORONTO: Dahntay Jones insisted Monday his groin shot on Bismack Biyombo at the end of Game 3 was not intentional and he was surprised by the one-game suspension he’ll serve during Game 4.

Asked if he meant to punch Biyombo below the waist, Jones responded, “Not at all.” He said it was his responsibility to pick up Biyombo on the play.

“I was ready to catch him, the shot went up, I went to go box him out, keep him off the boards and that was it,” Jones said. “The league contacted me to get my side. Then they contacted me back and said it was a unanimous decision that there was considered to be intent.”

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Raptors 99, Cavs 84; Jason Lloyd's 28 thoughts on Jay-Z, fines and the first loss of the postseason

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 22, 2016

TORONTO: Twenty-eight thoughts for 28 baskets in Saturday’s 99-84 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, pulling the Raptors within 2-1 in the series…

1.      LeBron James was hit in the jaw by his own teammate, deserted by the Cavs’ two other stars, clubbed in the head by Bismack Biyombo and closed his evening by quoting lyrics from Jay-Z while explaining why he doesn’t retaliate to physical/dirty play on the court.

2.      All of which overshadowed a night the Cavs just didn’t play very well. They were outworked, outrebounded and outplayed by a Raptors team that swore for 48 hours they weren’t quitting despite two lopsided losses to start this series, then they went out and proved it. All the talk of 16-0 dropped as quickly as James did when Thompson caught him with a wild forearm while trying to get away from a scrum with Biyombo and his good friend Cory Joseph. Adversity, folks, has arrived.

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